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Who We Are

In 1998 Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard approached Mind in Brighton and Hove to start discussions about how to highlight the mental health needs of Brighton's LGB&T communities. A number of public meetings were held, involving local community groups, activists, service providers and service commissioners.

Comic Relief provided funding to start up an Advocacy, Group Work and Training project, run by Mind in Brighton and Hove. This became MindOut.

In 2011 MindOut branched out and became an independent charity on its own.

MindOut is staffed by out LGBTQ workers and volunteers. The staff and volunteer team is:


Rita Hirani – CEO

Rita (she/her) is a social entrepreneur and trainer, with 35+ years of experience in the voluntary sector. She has pioneered innovative projects for marginalised communities in the field of domestic violence and abuse, community services, and helplines.


Dawn Hayes - Wellbeing Service Manager

Dawn (she/her) joined the MindOut Advocacy team in December 2017, specialising in housing related advocacy and and now manages the Wellbeing services.

Dawn’s career spans over 28 years and includes tenancy management and support, customer services, repairs and improvement, and service user participation/involvement to improve services. Dawn’s main passion and focus now is listening to the ‘voice of experience’, empowerment and inclusion.

I am delighted to be part of the MindOut team and use my knowledge and experience in a positive way’.


Trudi Pearce - Project Worker

Trudi (she/her) joined the Peer Support team in December 2021 as a Mental Health project worker for MindOut’s Wellbeing service. She is now a Senior Practitioner (Wellbeing).  Previously, she worked as a volunteer providing befriending and mentoring for MindOut’s service users and continues to work as a caregiver for the elderly.

Trudi’s earlier career journey started with a BA (Hons) in Travel and Tourism and later a MSc in Sustainable Tourism Management. This is where her passion to lobby, engage and mentor travel organisations to adopt best practice and an inclusive approach was prevalent.

In 2020 Trudi decided to broaden and build on her coaching qualifications and study as a counsellor to CPCAB level 3 and will continue to level 4 in January 2022.

Beyond MindOut,  Trudi is a cat lover, and enjoys sourcing local ingredients and cooking homemade tasty dishes.  After all that delicious food outdoor activity such as country walks, mindfulness and playing sports hits the spot.

Phil final

Phil Ayling - Advocacy Worker

Phil (he/him) has been an online support volunteer for MindOut for two years. During which developed skills in managing people in crisis, signposting, emotional and listening support and connecting with people to feel less alone.

He is currently an LGBTQ Mental health Project Worker with lived mental health experience.

Phil has had previous experience working in various industries. Now living in the brighton area Phil has become a proud part of the LGBTQ community.

In his free time Phil enjoys films, football and reads graphic novels.

Ed looking at the camera, green trees blurred in the background

Ed Westgarth - Counselling Service Manager

Ed (he/him) joined the MindOut team as the Counselling Service Manager in June 2023. His work involves managing and developing the Counselling Service at MindOut to provide an accessible mental health service for the LGBTQ+ community.

He is an experienced Integrative Counsellor. He has previously worked in other LGBTQ+ organisations, providing support in counselling, group work, and peer support. Ed is passionate about working in the community, as volunteering sparked his journey into studying and starting his career in counselling. He is excited to be able to work with MindOut and grow the service to help the community.

Alongside his role at MindOut, Ed also runs a private counselling practice, and continues to grow his knowledge through attending various workshops and lectures.


Peter Golder - Counselling Service Assistant

Peter (he/him) began the role of Counselling Service Assistant in January 2022, having previously volunteered as a counsellor for MindOut for 3 years. His work involves supporting the Counselling Services Manager and volunteer counsellors in the day to day administration of the Counselling service.

He is passionate about supporting people with their mental health, which has been influenced by his study and work over 15 years. This has included volunteering at the Samaritans, Terence Higgins Trust and now training to be a psychotherapist.

Besides his work at MindOut, Peter also supports the LGBTQ community in his private practice counselling work to people predominantly in Brighton and Hove and also across the UK. He also runs a small therapy group within the NHS to people living with dementia.

Outside of his work, Peter enjoys exercise, reading and walking on the South Downs or beside the sea.

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